|Born||August 9, 1986|
|Other names||Unidan (pseudonym) UnidanX (pseudonym post-ban)|
|Alma mater||BS in Biology and BS in Environmental Science from Binghamton University|
|Known for||Answering questions about biology and ecology on Reddit, subsequent ban from the website for vote fraud|
|Institutions||Binghamton University, New York, United States|
Ben Eisenkop, better known by his Reddit pseudonym Unidan, is an American ecologist. He became popular on the social media website Reddit as the "excited biologist" who answered questions and explained concepts related to biology and ecology. He was banned from the website for vote fraud – using multiple secret accounts to increase the popularity of his own posts and decrease the popularity of competitors' posts.
Eisenkop earned his bachelor's degrees in biology and environmental science from Binghamton University in Vestal, New York. He was a doctoral student there from 2011 until 2018, but left before completing his doctoral degree. He worked as a graduate instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University, teaching courses in biology, ecology, and environmental science. He performed doctoral research on ecosystem ecology, studying how communally roosting crows in New York affect the environment.
Eisenkop wrote an article for Mental Floss. He has been a graduate instructor for Biology 117: Introduction to Organismal, and Population and Environmental Studies 101: Environment and Man/Women: An Ecological Perspective, and helps instruct an animal behavior course with professor Anne Clark and has been involved in studying communally roosting crows in New York, by tracking them across the state and monitoring their environmental impact. He is also a collaborator on an upcoming book "Great Adaptations," which teaches concepts of evolution to kids. In April 2014, Eisenkop hosted a TEDx with Binghamton University, "Alternative Futures of Science Funding."
Eisenkop, using the pseudonym Unidan, had been answering biology-related questions on Reddit for several years, when an Ask Me Anything ("AMA", a Q&A style event hosted on Reddit) he did in 2013 made it to the front page of Reddit. Thereafter, his popularity rose and he became one of the most recognizable Reddit users. Eisenkop's popularity and visibility on Reddit garnered him many science education-related job offers, such as with Mental Floss.
Vote fraud and site ban
In July 2014, Eisenkop's Unidan account was banned from Reddit for using alternate (or "sockpuppet") accounts. The accounts were used to upvote his own submissions and downvote submissions made by other users that were posted around the same time and were potentially attracting attention away from his own. He also used them during discussions in which he upvoted his own comments and downvoted comments from users that he was arguing with. Reddit community manager Alex Angel (cupcake1713) described Unidan's actions as "pretty blatant vote manipulation, which is against our site rules," and The Daily Dot wrote that "Unidan's fall adds him to a list of power users who have abused their influence of Reddit's system for their own benefit."
- "'I am the Excited Biologist! AMA': Unidan's Reddit AMA". Reddit. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- Rahman, Tania (October 11, 2013). "Binghamton University TA schools Reddit". Binghamton University Pipe Dream. Vestal, New York: Binghamton University. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Silverman, Matt (April 26, 2013). "'Excited Biologist' Captures Hearts and Minds of Reddit". Mashable. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Koebler, Jason (July 31, 2014). "Reddit's Favorite Scientist Just Got Banned for Cheating the Site". Vice. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Ben Eisenkop on LinkedIn
- "How u/Unidan became Reddit's go-to science guy". Fox News. March 17, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Shea, Anna (February 25, 2014). "Reddit, Research and the Strange Case of /u/Unidan". University of Melbourne. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- "Great Adaptations - a children's book about evolution". Kickstarter. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "TEDx 2014 at Binghamton University: Biographies of speakers". binghamton.edu. March 30, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Alternative Futures of Science Funding: Ben "Unidan" Eisenkop at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity". TEDx. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Olson, Randy (November 14, 2013). "Sharing your passion for science with the world through reddit: Interview with Unidan". Spartan Ideas. Michigan State University. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Green, Alexa (October 19, 2013). "Binghamton University graduate assistant rises to Reddit fame". Time Warner Cable News. Central New York. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Knoblauch, Max (July 31, 2014). "Reddit Bans One of Most Popular Users for Vote Manipulation". Mashable. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- "How reddit works". reddit.
- Alfonso, Fernando III (July 30, 2014). "Reddit power user and ecologist Unidan is shadowbanned". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Alfonso, Fernando III (July 31, 2014). "How Reddit's most popular user fell from grace". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 31, 2014.